In India, Jet Airways has launched a new in-flight entertainment service, which allows fliers to stream digital content on their devices — for free.
The airline’s new service is the first of its kind in the domestic industry, and comes soon after the civil aviation ministry suggested that they will allow onboard wi-fi access.
“As of today, JetScreen is live on six of our 75 narrow-body aircraft, and we hope to introduce the facility on all our planes (narrow-body) by March. These facilities are available on two of our Delhi-Mumbai flights, apart from one each on the Delhi-Bangkok and Delhi-Lucknow sectors and two in the Southern sectors,” said Colin Neubronner, the senior vice-president for sales and marketing at the company.
Although streaming was available before, it was offered only using airline-supplied devices. JetScreen, the label used for this screening system, uses onboard wireless streaming technology, which has been licensed from Global Eagle Entertainment, an American company. It offers more than 22 hours of media, including movies, TV shows, music, and games. Fliers just have to download an app onto their wifi-enabled devices to stream the content.
Indeed, this move on Jet Airways’ part is probably ushering in a new era of inflight entertainment systems . Currently, 41% of passengers prefer to watch movies during their flight, but instead of staring at airplane displays, many fliers will be happy to use their own devices. Perhaps airlines will eventually save money by eliminating aircraft displays altogether, relying instead on the devices of their passengers.
One thing is absolutely certain: in the age of apps and personal devices, in flight entertainment systems manufacturers have a lot to consider concerning how they design their interfaces. People no longer think about their flights as work time lost to travel, and many expect to be able to work or surf the web while in flight. This also means that their expectations of the inflight entertainment systems, and the role of in flight entertainment systems manufacturers, is rapidly changing.